Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 22:1-2 (NIV)
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:1-2 (MSG)
So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all.
“So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard about it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was suffering hardship, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. There were about four hundred men with him.” -AMPLIFIED
David left Gath, on the run once again. This time he made his escape to a cave near Adullam. Adullam was one of the royal Canaanite cities. The cave itself was approximately 13 miles west of Bethlehem, David’s hometown. This area was an ideal hiding place and very close to the border of the Philistines, where David could again flee if he had to cross the border in a great hurry. It was also close to Bethlehem, his home town. All of this left him in a pretty good location.
We find David’s brothers and others associated with his family gathering to be near him during his time of need. The family and many of his childhood friends must have heard about what had been happening to him in Saul’s court. They probably came to him to hear his side of the story and see what they could do to be helpful.
The family coming to join him was one thing, but we find that others began to trickle in to join his group too. There were those who were just down on their luck, those who were in debt and had lost their homes and/or lands, as well as those who were thoroughly unhappy with Saul’s leadership. All of these men gathered around David, there were about 400 of them, and they nominated him to be their leader. Now we have David and his Mighty Men. (Sounds a little like Robin Hood and his merry men.)
Dr. John Vernon McGee shared these thoughts about David gathering his army at this time. “Chapter 22 begins that period in David’s life when he hides in the caves and dens of the earth. He is learning that the King’s business does not require haste. God is schooling and training him as He has His other men. During these years when he hides from the presence of Saul who seeks to kill him, he is hunted and hounded. He is driven from pillar to post. He is forced to hide in the forests and caves of the earth to escape the king’s wrath. During this time David describes himself in the following ways: (1) I am hunted like a partridge (1 Sam. 26:20); (2) I am like a pelican of the wilderness (Ps. 102:6); (3) I am like an owl of the desert (Ps. 102:6); (4) My soul is among lions (Ps. 57:4); and (5) They have prepared a net for my steps (Ps. 57:6). David becomes weary during these years of running away from Saul. When Saul presses him hard, he withdraws to the cave of Adullam, which is a rocky mountain fastness, southwest of Jerusalem, in a valley between Philistia and Hebron.”
David will spend a lot of time running from Saul, somewhere between 7-8 years. He had lost his best friend, Jonathan; yet we find God has provided for him a circle of family and friends to give him support. These men would become his bodyguard, his good friends, and his support group. God always provides for us what we are in need of; David needed support.
1 Chronicles 12 gives us a little more detail about the men. “After David fled from Saul (son of Kish) to the Philistine city of Ziklag, all the tribes of Israel sent warriors to support him in battles. There were especially skilled Benjaminite archers, able to sling stones and shoot arrows from their left hands or from their right hands. Their chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite, Jeziel and Pelet (sons of Azmaveth), Beracah, Jehu the Anathothite, and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a warrior equal to and better than the 30. Then Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite, Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam, the Korahites, Joelah, and Zebadiah (son of Jeroham of Gedor).” -1 Chronicles 12″1-7 (VOICE)
Notice, there were even men from the tribe of Benjamin who supported David. Benjamin was Saul’s tribe. Saul’s temper and pride have been getting him in some very hot water; even with those who were closest to him.
Meanwhile, God is preparing the future king of Israel. David is now basically an outlaw; yet God has sent him the men he needs to protect him. In fact, in these next years before he becomes king he will be whipping those men who are closest to him into shape. These guys will be the foundation of his army once he is king. This period of time will be a training period for David and his men. God uses every situation in our lives for a teaching moment. Do not let those times of training slip by without learning what it is that God is trying to teach you; be a stellar student.
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” ~Auguste Rodin
“Every circumstance in life is a teachable moment.” ~John Mark Harrison
Lord, my recognize those who you have placed around me to give me counsel and support. Every situation can be learned from; help me to not let those lessons pass me by without learning something. Remind me that all things work together for my good because you are always watching over me, taking care of my every need and guiding me in the ways I should go. Thank you God. Help me to learn my lessons wisely.